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Restaurants

Food, London

Medlar Restaurant, Chelsea

December 30, 2014

There are endless restaurants to choose from in London, but one of my favourite discoveries this year has to be Chelsea’s Medlar. Discreet in appearance to the average passerby, Medlar is one of the best hidden gems for a serious meal on the Kings Road – a stone’s throw from Vivienne Westood’s boutique.

IMG_1716Reserved for special occasions, it seemed very necessary to take my mom to Medlar for a memorable lunch in the run up to Christmas. We plonked ourselves down on a plush green banquette and raised our Aperol Spritz filled glasses, toasting to happy times together in London over the holidays.

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*In case you don’t know what an Aperol Spritz is, check out my step by step recipe here!*

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It is a challenge to choose from the tantalising menu at Medlar, which is innovative without being over complicated. There is a very impressive wine list that could do serious damage to your credit card. Vino aficionados you have been warned! In an effort to keep warm on a chilly December afternoon, I started with the the mushroom soup with poached quail’s egg, wild mushrooms and black pudding gougères:

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Presented and executed to perfection, this comforting combination of mushroom and soft poached quail egg actually melts in your mouth. I’m not a huge fan of black pudding, but a small warm dab on the inside of the gougères was an interesting and delicious touch. I am still mulling over how my mushroom soup could ever remotely taste this finger-licking good!

I insisted mom try one of my favourite Medlar dishes, crab raviolo with samphire, brown shrimps, fondue of leeks and bisque sauce:

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You haven’t lived until you have a bite of this crab ravioli, which is so perfect it’s hard not to lick the plate clean and wear it as a hat. Nuff said?

I rarely order veal but I had to try the rump of veal with mushroom and reblochon tart, Jerusalem artichoke and crisp brain – yes, I ate brain! The sauce that accompanies this juicy rump has to be a nectar sent from the gods and the chunky fries were so blissfully delicious, my plate was soon spotless.

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Mom continued on her quest to try all things seafood, and ordered the Cornish plaice with mussels, leeks vinaigrette, green beans and agresto. Nemo and his friends were filled with a refreshing zesty flavour perfectly accompanied by crisp fresh greens. This dish will leave you feeling pleasantly full but not stuffed; the portions at Medlar are the ideal size.

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Medlar has an incredible pudding menu to choose from (their seasonal sorbets are worth every calorie), but we were honestly too full to try more, so we restrained ourselves and ordered coffee. If you also find yourself stuffed at this point, fear not, as the lovely Medlar team will present you with their mouth-watering “after thoughts,” home-made truffles and passion fruit flavoured marshmallows. Behold the finale:

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Just when we thought we were being restrained, right!

To spoil that special someone, impress your in-laws or treat your parents, Medlar is ridiculously good with an incredible attentive staff to match. This is definitely a restaurant worth visiting in the New Year whatever your resolutions.

£30 for three courses, £25 for two courses

www.medlarrestaurant.co.uk | @MedlarChelsea

Feature, Food, London

Rabbit Restaurant, Chelsea

November 21, 2014

A new it restaurant called Rabbit has recently hopped onto the Kings Road in Chelsea and already has a line of fans out of the restaurant’s stable door entrance. Rabbit is the latest creation from brothers Richard, Gregory and Oliver Gladwin, who source wines and produce for their various London restaurants from their family-farm and vineyard, Nutbourne, in West Sussex. If you like the Gladwin brothers’ hit restaurant The Shed in Notting Hill, then Rabbit’s complex ‘wild British food’ nose-to-tail menu should be next on your foodie hit list.

I take my hat off to Rabbit for going the extra mile to create a cosy Sussex in Chelsea vibe. The rustic wooden décor with colourful art, iron tractor seats and taxidermy fox tails really transports you away from the big smoke into the rural countryside. Leave your sky high stiletto heels and leather trousers at home – you will look the part in a winter Barbour, an oversized sweater and country wellies here!

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Rabbit’s menu keeps you on your toes by changing on a daily basis, as does the restaurant’s signature tipple, the Rabbit Daily Loosener (£9), which is created with seasonal changing ingredients. The menu is divided into ‘mouthfuls’, ‘slow cooking’ and ‘fast cooking’, and encourages tables to share; 2 to 3 dishes per person is recommended.

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We raised our glasses with a sophisticated Nutbourne Sussex Reserve (£6.50 per glass) and mulled over what to try from the menu. The fresh out of the oven warmed bread-rolls with dried shallot infused butter were welcomed. Don’t fret if you’re a vegetarian, as there are a large number of non-meaty dishes to choose from.

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After making big decisions with the menu, we bypassed the ‘mouthfuls’ portion of the menu and selected two starters. First up was the labneh with chorizo, crisp bread and kale (£7.5); it was so delicious I easily could have eaten a large bowl as a main dish. The chorizo base is perfectly complimented with the crispy kale. Highly recommended!

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We also sampled the hearty red grouse with wood sorrel, rosehip and heather blossom (£6), which was thoughtfully prepared and had great flavour.

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The real game changer dish on the menu for me was the lamb chips with lemon, parlsey and harrisa (£8), from the slow cooking portion of the menu. The warm seasoned lamb paired with a crunchy exterior and tangy dipping sauce is true genius. This dish is not to be missed!

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It seemed only right to order rabbit here, and there were so many variations of rabbit to choose from including: rabbit ravioli, rabbit stone bake, rabbit ragu and Spatchcock rabbit. Apparently rabbit is considered to be one of the most sustainable meats, as it can be consumed in its entirety – you learn something every day right? Remembering my pet bunny Buster from my teenage years, I let the boys dig in to the rabbit ravioli with bone marrow, pasta al dente, pesto sauce and hedgehog mushrooms (£9.5), which is apparently a show-stopper.

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Last but not least, we feasted on the wild mushroom ragu with black summer truffle, celeriac and sage oil (£11.50), which was another creation that was so good it was tough to share. This is the perfect comforting treat to warm you up on a chilly winter day.

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I’m rather ashamed to admit that we were too full to try any puddings or cheese – further reason to come back for more feasting on this foraged farm food. I visited Rabbit during lunchtime and the restaurant was packed, so it will interesting to see how different the atmosphere is in the evening.

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Overall, I found Rabbit’s concept refreshingly creative and fun. Chelsea’s new country bumpkin eatery has a delicious menu to choose from with prices that aren’t too ‘hare raising’ (pun intended). I’ve been rabbiting on about this place to all my friends and will definitely be back for more!